Freedom High School Bomb Plot Thwarted

A Florida teen is in custody after being arrested on suspicion of planning to blow up his school.

Jared Cano Arrested

Jared Cano, 17, who had been expelled from Freedom High School in Tampa, and according to police investigations had collected a mass of pipe bomb making equipment, including fusing and timing devices, shrapnel, plastic tubing and a fuel source. His journal allegedly contained an entry professing the desire to cause more casualties than those killed and injured in the 1999 massacre at Columbine High School in Colorado. It also allegedly contained detailed drawings of the school, and a minute by minute manifesto detailing the attack, which was supposed to take place next Tuesday, starting at 5 a.m.

Police Tipped Off

Information about Cano’s alleged plot first surfaced on Tuesday, when the police received a tip that he threatened to plant a bomb at the school, targeting 30 students and two school officials, including the Principal. After his mother, who is a Math teacher at another local high school, allowed the police to search the family home, they found the bomb making material and journal. In addition, the police discovered a marijuana operation, complete with plants, grow lights and scales.

Speaking at a news conference, Tampa Chief of Police Jane Castor said: “We were probably able to thwart potentially a catastrophic event the likes of which Tampa has not seen, and hopefully never will.”

Multiple Charges

Jared Cano is facing multiple charges, including possession of bomb-making materials, marijuana cultivation, marijuana and drug paraphernalia possession, and threatening to throw, project, place or discharge a destructive device. He has a prior juvenile record, including charges of burglary, carrying a concealed weapon, drug possession and altering the serial numbers on a firearm.

Court Appearance

At Wednesday’s court hearing, Cano sat with his face in his lap seemingly close to tears. When asked by the judge if his parents were coming, he replied: “I don’t know.” Neither parent attended the hearing.

When asked if he wanted to say anything, the teen replied: “I don’t know”, but when the judge said he could say anything without speaking about his charges, he began to speak: “The plan wasn’t…”

When the public defender tried to stop him from speaking, Cano retorted: “I can talk. I’m allowed to say what I want.” After whispering in her client’s ear, the public defender said: “He has no comment.”

Tipster A “Hero”

The tipster’s identity is being withheld, but that person was praised by Police Chief Castor as a “hero”. She said: “It’s someone who had information and they felt strongly enough to call the Tampa Police Department. Cano is believed to have been acting alone.

High School Attack at Columbine

On April 20th, 1999, Columbine seniors Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris went on a rampage at their High School, killing 12 students and one teacher. 24 more were injured.

Read More:

TampaBay.com Article

ABC News Story

CNN Article

Wikipedia Entry on Columbine High School massacre

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